August Reads

Oh, please say it isn’t so. It can’t be September already as I have way too many books on my to be read pile.  Summer is my absolute favorite time of year and one in which I can read the most books.  I spoke to my daughter yesterday and she’s doing the same as me, finding a quiet spot (park) and enjoying the waning days of summer with a good book.  Here’s what kept my going all month long and there were some great page turners in this group.  We always have rainy days and weekends to read.

Bring Her Home

Totally devoured this book in one sitting. I was so engrossed and reading this as fast as I could. I had an early suspicion about who did the crime and couldn’t wait for the big reveal.

A father is searching for his missing daughter – Summer and her best friend Haley. The book opens with Bill rushing to the hospital when two girls are found, one dead and one barely alive. As he sits at his barley alive daughter’s bedside he is consumed with guilt and wondering what caused this. He begins to question his relationship with her and his parenting. Then far worse, he begins to question if this is even his daughter in the bed. I really can’t say too much about the plot as I don’t want to give anything away. There were many surprises and twists and turns. David Bell is a masterful story teller. A definite must read.

The Best Kind of People: A Novel

I opened this book and read the first page. It pulled me in immediately. I found this book to be a deep exploration of the psychological effect a major event has on a family. We follow Sadie, Andrew and Joan as they come to grips with their father and husband being charged with sexual abuse. At times it felt so raw. At times I wanted to look away. But, of course I couldn’t. I can’t say too much more for fear of exposing any of the major plot lines.

The Night Child: A Novel

I’m still trying to process this book, a deeply disturbing read. Nora is struggling emotionally and feels she is losing her mind. We are taken into her therapy sessions and witness to the unveiling of her split personality and deep dark secret. We are treated to a well written account of what is is like to be in this state of mind. There wasn’t a linear plot to this one, rather a slow unveiling of the event that caused the trauma. A deeply sad and dark read for me.

19 Souls (A Sin City Investigation)

This book had one very determined stalker who went to great lengths to find her prey – Dan – a boy from her past. Sophie was beautiful and deadly a great combination for a thriller. Jim Bean as the private investigator was a pretty cut and dry character who gets tangled with Sophie. He’s definitely in over his head rather quickly. A thriller that kept me turning the pages until the conclusion. You find yourself waiting for Sophie to strike and knowing it’s coming. Wait for it, wait for it.

Exposed: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel

Lisa Scottoline treats us to another great read based in Philadelphia. We return to favorite characters Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato, now partners. Mary’s quirky family is such a delight in these books and for me knowing the location is a draw. In this book, Mary is representing her family friend Simon who has been unjustly fired because his daughter has cancer and is causing too many expenses at the company. Unfortunately, there is a conflict of interest because Bennie represents the parent company, All this leads to tension between them and between Bennie and Nate who owns the parent company. Lots of twists and turns and fun characters. I love this series and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.

This Is Not a Love Letter

This young adult book addresses many sensitive and timely topics. Written from the perspective of Jessie speaking to her missing boyfriend Chris, hence the title. When Chris goes missing many think he may have killed himself but Jessie is convinced that he’s a victim of foul play. An emotional read but definitely one to read. Fans of 13 Reasons will love this one.

The Flight Attendant: A Novel

Cassandra wakes in bed in Dubai and finds her latest one night stand dead. She panics and flees leaving her a suspect in his murder. I totally enjoyed this latest book from Bohjailan. As usual he doesn’t disappoint.
A sexy flight attendant, a murder and some espionage with a surprise at the end. Winning for sure.

The Art of Hiding

The book opens with Nina at a rugby came watching her son. She’s waiting for her husband who is late when she gets that dreaded phone call. Her husband is dead and life will never be the same for her or her two boys.
This book has a lot of promise. The plot didn’t hold my total interest in all parts, but at it’s heart it was a story of facing ones personal demons.

The Dark Lake

I enjoyed reading this mystery by Sarah Bailey. I have not read any books by her before. The main character Gemma is the lead homicide police investigator of the murder of a local woman. It turns out the woman has a connection to Gemma as she stole her teenage boyfriend just before he committed suicide. Gemma is quite the messed up character and much of the book is devoted to her angst in life. The plot is good though and I really didn’t figure out who done it until it was revealed. I had my suspicions but they were not on target.

There’s a lot going on in the book other than just the murder. As I said, a lot of the book is devoted to Gemma and her internal struggles which are all linked back to the death of her boyfriend. Worthy of a read as it kept me turning pages to find out who killed Rosalind.

The Space Between Words

This book is truly magnificent. I was hesitant to read it due to the difficult subject matter, but am ever so glad I plunged in. The book grabs you from the first page and fails to let you go. I’m feeling it still lingering with me. Julie, Adeline, Jess, Patrick, they are characters who you soon won’t forget. I’m not going to say parts of this book aren’t difficult to read, let alone imagine that they happened, but the stories are so worth reading.
Jess finds herself caught up in the terror of the Bataclan mass murders. Life for her will never be the same. She comes upon pages from an antique Bible and journal and sets off on a journey to discover the life of Adeline and Julie and the entire Baillard family. This story too can be difficult to read at times and again events like this really did happen.
All I can say is it will be so worth your time because as the author so eloquently says, you often find light layered over the darkness in the world. Wonderful!

The Broken Girls

This was not the normal type of book I read, as I don’t read paranormal or ghost books. What drew me to this one was that it was advertised to be a thriller. Yes, there was a ghost aspect but it was not the focal point of the plot, though was a focal point of the story. I enjoyed this one and would never have figured out the mysterious death of Sonia or its connection to the death of Deb. Fiona as the main narrator was a likeable character who has walls around her emotions since her sister was found murdered 20 years ago. She obsesses over it and has a feeling that there is more to the death than ever was revealed. What she uncovers is pretty surprising and sad to think it all could have been avoided. This one will keep you turning the pages to find out what in the world happened and how the alternating chapters intersect.

Enjoy and if you read any of these books, please let me know how you enjoyed them. Leave me a comment below – I love to chat about books.

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April Reads

April has been a month of many rainy days and some great reads. Here’s my top reads this month:

The Perfect Stranger: A Novel

If you haven’t read Megan Miranda’s book All the Missing Girls: A Novel then you absolutely must do that right now!  It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  I loved the unique style of the book.  You can read my review on that book here – All the Missing Girls .

This one is a good read too, though not as good as her first.  The characters are well developed and you truly feel a sense of madness throughout the book that leaves you guessing and wondering.  I was slightly disappointed with the ending, as what I imagined was coming would have been far more intense than what she wrote.  If you are a fan of suspense, then I think the book is well worth your time and you will be turning the pages long into the night.  I gave this a 3.5 star review on Goodreads.

And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies

This was a great read about a woman named Bea.  The character is one that you will love on many levels.  I truly enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting.  There were many things that spoke to me as Bea was wrestling through the issues of her life and there were many.   I enjoyed the friendship she shared with Awilda, one that spanned their life from childhood to present day.  The raw honesty portrayed by Bea as she struggled felt real.  I didn’t enjoy the betrayal that Bea endured.  As I read those parts, I became disappointed along with her.  At its core, this book is a story of friendship, personal struggle and the ultimate betrayal.  But for me, it was a story of perseverance and strength.  This book reminded me somewhat of those written by Terry Macmillan, so if you’re a fan of her work, give it a shot.

Always: A Novel

This is a love story that speaks to the power of true love.  Told in alternating chapters between past and present, we read Kailey and Cade’s love story.  This is a story about the one who got away, the one you never forgot.

Ten years earlier, Kailey and Cade were deeply in love.  One day, Cade disappears from Kailey’s life leaving her heartbroken and confused.  She goes on to put her life back together and is now engaged and deeply in love with Ryan.  As the story unfolds, we see just how deeply Kailey felt about Cade.  Can she be honest with Ryan about Cade?  Will their love endure Cade’s return?  Why did Cade leave in the first place?   This book was really good read.   It reminded me of Colleen Hoover’s style.  If you are fan of Hoover, then check out this book.  I think you’ll see some similarities and enjoy a real good read.  But, be sure to start it on a day when you have nowhere to be.

The Memory of Things: A Novel

I saved the best for last!  I bought this Young Adult, coming of age book, several months back.  It sat on my kindle for a long while before I was brave enough to start it.  The thing is September 11 is seared in my memory.  I don’t often read books on this topic as it was a traumatic event for me and many that I know.  I am so happy I finally opened it and read it.  What a unique and truly interesting read this was and I literally didn’t move until I finished it.  The book captures the emotions of that day quite well.  Written in a unique style of narrative with poetic text included that I felt truly captured the uncertainty and feeling of the day.

This book is special and Gae Polisher captured that day with honesty and sensitivity.  Told in alternating chapters by two teenagers personally affected by the tragedy that unfolded that day we are reminded of the heroic efforts of everyday people.  Kyle is a student who has to walk home from school after watching the events unfold from his school.  Along the way he sees something on the bridge, a girl who intends to jump.  He manages to get her to come home with him.  Kyle is left alone at home with a father who is a first responder, whereabouts unknown, and a mom who was flying home from California, whereabouts unknown.  You really feel inside these characters as you go through three days with them.  Beautifully written and deeply engaging, this is one you don’t wan to miss.

The author includes text at the end with her personal reflection on the day.   I knew just form the way she captured the story that she was a New Yorker.  This was my first book by this author and I plan to check out her others.

Lately, two series are getting a lot of buzz.   Recently, Thirteen Reasons has been trending on Facebook and the news.  Surprisingly, many don’t realize this series is based on the best selling book, Thirteen Reasons Why a truly great read.   If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do.  Also, the series Big Little Lies has been trending.  This too, is based on a best selling book.  If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it – Big Little Lies .  Both series were good and I binge watched them over a weekend, but neither one holds a candle to the books they were based on.

What books did you read this month?  Please share some titles below as I’m always looking for my next great read!  If you check out any of these titles, please post to let me know what you thought.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

What a delightful, quirky book this was.  The narration by Hawthorne was hilarious at times and really deep at others.

This book is about the high school experience, as told by nerdy Hawthorne.   She’s not enjoying her time there and truly let’s you know why.   The quirkiness of the characters in this book reminded me of those in The Fault in Our Stars .  When the book opens we soon find out that Lizzie Lovett is missing.  Hawthorne becomes obsessed with this fact as Lizzie is somewhat of an obsession to her already.  She embarks on a mission to find Lizzie through no plan of her own.  It just kind of happens.  All of the characters in this book have a slight oddness about them.  Putting them together in one book is sheer genius.  I laughed out loud often in this book, yet was deeply touched by it as well.  As the editor’s note in the beginning said, I didn’t really want it to end and I highlighted many passages to reread and savor.

Two passages I highlighted speak to the deep emotions that can be found lurking in the pages of this book.  First, early in the book we get a sense of Hawthorne’s feelings about Lizzie,

“The thing is, Emily is right.  I was jealous of Lizzie, but not of how pretty and popular and perfect she was.  I envied Lizzie’s happiness.  It seemed unfair that she should have so much of it when other people had so little.”  

This passage really keyed us in to the depth of Hawthorne’s personal unhappiness.  It also gives us another way to think about what is happening in the minds of many high school geeks.  How many suffer in silence, sitting on the sidelines.

Second, toward the end of the book,

“”It’s weird.  After all this time searching for her and trying to understand her life, I still don’t feel like I know her.  Everyone I talked to saw her as a totally different person.  And I thought it was intentional.  Like Lizzie changed personalities depending on who she was with.  But now, I don’t know.”  Emily thought about it for a moment.  “Maybe people saw her the way they wanted to see her.  Maybe that’s how it always is.” If that was the case, I wondered how people saw me.  How many different versions of Hawthorn Creely were out there in the world, living in people’s heads?  How close were any of them to the actual me?”  

I mean I could go on and on and just share so many highlighted pieces.  Yes, it feels like a coined messages about life on some pages, but others like these two show just how much truly can be learned from these pages.

The book is a young adult read, but does have a sensitive topic, so more for middle school and up.  I highly recommend reading the book when it is released.  It’s not due out until January and I’ll surely remind you when that happens.  I even love the cover of this book, don’t you?

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an early copy of the book to read and review.